Stage 2: Pre-Application Consultation
The new SHD Pre-Application process and requires a number of key steps to be completed:
Request for Pre-Application Consultation Meeting
A request by a prospective applicant can be made in writing to An Bord Pleanála and should contain the information as provided for under section 5(5), (6) and (7) of the Act of 2016 and article 285 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the Regulations of 2017. Such information includes, inter alia:
- site location map
- brief description of nature and purpose of development
- draft layout plan
- statements of consistency
- correct fee
- completed Pre-Application Consultation Request Form
The prospective applicant is required to send a copy of the request to the appropriate Planning Authority or Authorities in whose area or areas the SHD would be situated.
Planning Authority Submission
Within two weeks of being notified by An Bord Pleanála that a valid request for a Pre-Application Consultation meeting has been made, the Planning Authority is required to submit to An Bord Pleanála section 247 records and their opinion of the proposed development.
The Planning Authority opinion will include what considerations, related to the proper planning and development of the area concerned, may have a bearing on An Board Pleanála’s decision in relation to the proposed SHD, in particular having regard to the relevant development plan and /or local area plan, as the case may be.
Pre-Application Consultation Meeting
Where An Bord Pleanála is satisfied that the prospective applicant has submitted the required information, An Bord Pleanála will convene a consultation meeting. This meeting will take place within 6 weeks of the date of the receipt by An Bord Pleanála of the request and will be attended by the prospective applicant, representatives of An Bord Pleanála and representatives of the appropriate Planning Authority.
The Act and Regulations provide for more than one meeting to be held at the discretion of An Bord Pleanála. It should, however, be noted that the holding of a second or subsequent meeting will only take place in limited circumstances, in order to respect the spirit of the Act, which is to process Pre-Application requests and planning applications efficiently and effectively.
Purpose of the Pre-Application Consultation
The purpose of the documentation and consultation meeting is to assist An Bord Pleanála in the forming of an Opinion under section 6(7) of the Act of 2016.
The Opinion that is formed is on whether the documents submitted to An Bord Pleanála under section 5(5) constitute a reasonable basis for an application or require further consideration and amendment to constitute a reasonable basis for an application under section 4 of the Act of 2016.
While drawings and layouts of the proposed development are required, discussions at the meeting will focus on key site specific issues at a strategic overview level. The statements of consistency along with the site layout plan and other information submitted should set out the prospective applicant’s planning rationale for the proposal having specific regard to relevant policies and objectives contained in the development plan and section 28 Ministerial Guidance which are of relevance to the site. These statements should be clear and concise.
The consultation meeting does not involve a merits based assessment of the proposal and is without prejudice.
Record of Pre-Application Consultations
An Bord Pleanála will keep a record of all Pre-Application Consultations for SHD, including the names of those who participated in the consultations. A copy of such record will be retained with the documents to which any application in respect of that proposed development relates.
These records will be issued to the Planning Authority and prospective applicant and made available by An Bord Pleanála to the public when the application documents are received.
Forming and Issuing of an Opinion
Following the Pre-Application Consultation, An Bord Pleanála will form an Opinion as to whether the documents submitted at pre-application stage constitute a reasonable basis for an application or require further consideration and amendment in order to constitute a reasonable basis for an application. Where An Bord Pleanála forms the Opinion that further consideration and amendment is required, it shall provide advice as to what issues require to be addressed by the prospective applicant in the documents to be submitted with an application.
An Bord Pleanála will issue notice of its Opinion to the prospective applicant within three weeks of the date of the last consultation meeting.
This Opinion (issued under section 6(7)) is required by the prospective applicant so as to proceed to application stage. This Opinion is made available to the public at application stage.
An Bord Pleanála will issue a list of prescribed bodies to the prospective applicant that will be required to be notified prior to making an application, nevertheless, a prospective applicant should consult with relevant prescribed authorities (listed under article 295 of the Regulations of 2017) and the public prior to the pre-planning consultation meeting.
It is anticipated that the Pre-Application Consultation process will be completed within 9 weeks.